Born: September 17, 1899|
Ansted, West Virginia
Died: October 31, 1982 (aged 83)|
Beckley, West Virginia
|June 29, 1920, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 26, 1937, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Earned run average||4.13|
John Frederick "Sheriff" Blake (September 17, 1899 – October 31, 1982), was a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1920 to 1931 and 1937. He played for the St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago Cubs.
Blake appeared in more than 300 games during his career. His debut in 1920 was not an auspicious one, allowing two runs in an inning of relief for Pittsburgh in a 14-3 defeat to the Cubs.
It took Blake four years to get back to the majors after that season, his last as a Pirate. In 1924, he became a Cub, and in 1925 and 1926 he pitched often but had control issues, finishing second in the National League in walks in '25 and first the following year. Blake was the Cubs' starting pitcher on Opening Day in '26. His best season for Chicago came in 1928, when he went 17-11 with an NL-best four shutouts.
Blake had a 14-13 record the next season as the Cubs won the pennant by ten-and-a-half games over the nearest rival. He ended up being the losing pitcher in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series even though he pitched to just two batters. Both reached base in a historically bad 10-run seventh inning as the Cubs blew an 8-0 lead to the Philadelphia Athletics, losing the game at Shibe Park 10-8 and then losing the Series two days later.
An inside-the-park three-run homer by Mule Haas, which Cub outfielder Hack Wilson lost in the sun, was a big part of the comeback. Blake then replaced Art Nehf on the mound, gave up consecutive singles to future Hall of Famers Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx and was lifted. The timing of his two-batter stint stuck Blake with the loss, because he was charged with the run that put the Athletics ahead to stay.
His career lasted until 1937, when he split the season between the two St. Louis clubs, the Browns and Cardinals, but was released by both.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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